King Krule: Artist as a Young Man

Born Archy Marshall about 17 years ago in South East London, this gingy export now known as King Krule has a gravelly singing voice makes me immediately think of The Clash’s Joe Strummer.

That comparison may be a lot to live up to given his tender age and that his recent King Krule EP (True Panther) is a five-song set that’s more quiet storm than casbah rocking.

The New York Times even said his CMJ show treaded near-dubwise waters “that translated to an energy that was unreasonably, almost shockingly loungey.”

The best moments are his songwriting. You can catch my drift below when you listen to (and watch) his new video for “The Noose of Jah City” and an earlier clip for “Out Getting Ribs.”

Last year, using the Zoo Kid moniker, he added a few lo-fi tunes that  includes some rapping, some singing and some cool ambient-soul instrumentals to a bandcamp page.

Now under the name King Krule, he’s poised to fulfill some of that early promise. In one of the better interviews he’s done for stateside press, he talked to Pitchfork recently about his ascendant music career. Yes, he makes the shocking admission that his mother listened to “old school hip-hop like De La Soul.” (Makes you feel old, right?) But don’t hold that against him. He might actually deserve James Blake-level props as we head into 2012.

Pitchfork: Did you grow up in an artistic atmosphere?

Archy Marshall: Yeah. My dad is an art director for BBC TV shows, and my mum does screen printing workshops. Both of my parents played instruments, too, and my mum used to have crazy house parties when me and my brother were young–dub and garage would be banging through my house. She listened to a lot of old-school hip-hop like De La Soul, and that influenced me quite a lot. My mum used to work in New York in Spike Lee’s shop, she did the outfits for the video for P.M. Dawn‘s “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss“.

Pitchfork: How long have you been making music?

AM: I first recorded a track when I was eight, but it was fucking shit. [laughs] My mum’s boyfriend at the time brought around a load of equipment to record experimental dub and jazz, and I just started banging out tracks with it. I’ve always been trying to make do with whatever equipment I have.

I only recently got a proper setup with a MacBook, and that was like heaven to me. Before that, I was using this shitty Toshiba laptop with a fucked battery. I had to illegally download demos of music software that only allowed you to save files for 24 hours, so I had to make every track in one night. I’d do the production and mixing in one sitting. It was good because it made me do new tracks every night. But it was bad because, if I didn’t complete it, it would just be gone. I lost loads of stuff that way.

Pitchfork: When did you start singing?

AM: When I was eight as well. I never got lessons. I took influence from Chet Baker, Ian Dury, and Joe Strummer. I don’t hear my voice and think, “Yeah, that’s a banging voice!” It’s more about putting the right emotions into the right words and the lyrics than anything else to me.


Read the rest of the interview here.


WATCH: King Krule, “The Noose of Jah City”


WATCH: King Krule, “Out Getting Ribs”


What do you think of King Krule? Will this Brit export make adequate amounts of noise stateside? Let us know what you think of him and the King Krule EP in the comments.

And “Like” the Facebook page if you’re feeling Very Artistical.

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